Mike Higgins played 14 seasons in the big leagues, including parts of three years with the Red Sox (1937, 1938 and the second part of 1946). He also had two stints as manager of the Red Sox; from 1955 until partway through the 1959 season and again from 50 games into the 1960 campaign until the end of 1962. In Higgins' second stay as manager, the Red Sox suffered sixth and eighth place finishes in 1961 and 1962, respectively. On October 2, 1962, Tom Yawkey replaced Higgins with Johnny Pesky.
Instead of letting Higgins go, Yawkey made his erstwhile skipper the team's new general manager, filling a position that had sat vacant the past two years. However, Higgins couldn't right the ship in his new role and though he acquired Dick Stuart, who led the league in RBIs in 1963, the team as a whole continued to struggle. Late in the 1964 season, Pesky was replaced by Billy Herman and when the ballclub failed to respond on its way to a ninth-place finish in 1965, Higgins was supplanted as general manager too. Dick O'Connell, who had served as de facto GM immediately preceding Higgins' tenure, became the official GM of the Red Sox when Higgins was let go in September 1965.